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As discontent with top Biden health officials among many in and out of the GOP grows, a group of House Republicans will introduce a bill Wednesday to effectively fire top U.S. epidemiologist Anthony Fauci.
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, is behind the bill officially titled the Fauci’s Incompetence Requires Early Dismissal (FIRED) Act. Fox News first obtained the bill ahead of its introduction Wednesday. Its co-sponsors include Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
“Few people have earned their termination more visibly,” Davidson said in a statement to Fox News. “His excessively long tenure is emblematic of Eisenhower’s farewell address caution against scientific-technical elite steering the country for their own ends — at odds with truth and the national interest.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
The bill would impose a retroactive 12-year term limit on the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Fauci’s official post. The top scientist has held the job since 1984, so if the bill were to be signed into law he would be forced out of his job.
WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 CZAR PRESSED ON WHY BIDEN STILL WEARS MASK INDOORS AROUND OTHER VACCINATED PEOPLE
Of course, Davidson’s bill almost certainly has no chance of being signed into law. Even if Democrats in Congress were to support it and it made it through the House and Senate — a prospect that is beyond remote — President Biden would presumably veto it.
Biden’s White House has defended Fauci and its other medical experts and their elevated role in the administration. Counselor to the President Jeff Zients, when the administration recommended a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said the White House is letting “science agencies to lead with science” because political White House officials “bring nothing to the table.”
Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, Feb. 27. Davidson plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would effectively fire Dr. Anthony Fauci. (Getty)
But Davidson’s bill reflects a broader frustration growing with Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Biden administration health officials not just in Trumpy corners of the GOP but also among moderate Republicans and the media.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of the most moderate Republicans in Congress, tore into CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday during a hearing, saying that she’s lost respect for the agency.
“I used to have the utmost respect for the guidance from the CDC. I always considered the CDC to be the gold standard. I don’t anymore,” Collins said. “The conflicting, confusing guidance from your agency has undermined public confidence and contradicts the scientific guidance of many experts.”
COLLINS SLAMS CDC FOR ‘CONFLICTING, CONFUSING’ GUIDANCE, SAYS SHE’S LOST RESPECT FOR AGENCY
Collins specifically hammered Walensky over a New York Post report that the CDC worked with a teachers union to help formulate guidance on returning to schools, strict requirements on mask-wearing for children at summer camps, and a New York Times report that alleged the CDC exaggerated the risk of outdoor transmission of the virus.
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Sept. 23, 2020. Collins said Tuesday that she’s lost respect fot the CDC. (ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
On the report about the CDC’s consultation with the teachers union, Walensky said the CDC “engages with stakeholders, with consumers who use our guidance before it is finalized to make sure it addresses their needs.”
On the New York Times’ critique of the CDC’s characterization of outdoor transmission, which the outlet called “misleading,” Walensky said the number was based on an analysis of several studies in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. And on the agency’s strict summer camp guidance, Walensky said, “I want our kids back in camp… the camp guidance it intended to get our kids to camp and allow them to stay there.”
Meanwhile, Biden himself has come under increasing scrutiny for continuing to wear a mask in most settings despite the fact he is vaccinated and most of those around him are vaccinated. Critics say that by wearing a mask, the president is sending the signal that there aren’t necessarily benefits to getting vaccinated and therefore potentially increasing vaccine hesitancy.
President Biden meets with Vice President Kamala Harris, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the State Dining Room of the White House, Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Washington. Biden has been criticized for wearing masks indoors despite the fact he has been vaccinated for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“Is it really necessary for a fully vaccinated person to wear a mask at a limited indoor gathering if everyone there is vaccinated?” CNN host Jake Tapper asked Zients this weekend during an interview on “State of the Union.” “I think the concern is that by being overly cautious, the signal is going out to the public that there isn’t necessarily light at the end of the tunnel.”
Zients replied that the president is still following CDC guidance. “Let’s keep up our guard. Let’s follow the CDC guidance. And the CDC guidance across time will allow vaccinated people more and more privileges to take off that mask,” he added.
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Biden was also pushed on the matter by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox at a White House event Tuesday that reporters were not allowed to cover.
“We want people to understand that the vaccine is really the key to ending that,” Cox said, regarding people not being able to attend birthday parties and weddings and sporting events. ” And that’s one area where we could use some help from the White House and others, and that is modeling what a fully vaccinated person can do.”
“Good point,” Biden replied.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace, Kellianne Jones and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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